Massacre on

Isstvan  V

We’ve set our next big tournament project in stone: we’re doing another campaign weekend, this time focusing on  the outbreak of the Horus Heresy on Isstvan V!

We have our venue holding our spot for a weekend in late February 2011 (the exact date will be announced soon). Much like the Eye of Terror event we did this summer, we’ll be aiming to make this weekend a melding of both a campaign and a tournament: the tournament structure will be used to present a story-driven, six-game campaign of bravery, desperation and treachery.

As with the Eye of Terror campaign weekend, ensuring the event is optimized for “competitive” play remains a very secondary concern for us. Immersing players into situations that reward them for acting how the “real” 40k armies would “really” act in the same desperate and unexpected situations is what we’re aiming for.

Some highlights of the campaign weekend’s traits thus far:

  • This is a Space Marines ONLY function: you can play whatever army you want, so long as they attend dressed in their Marine suits and their army list comes from one flavour of a current Marine codex (loyal or otherwise). That’s right: no Guard and no Xenos.
  • The first morning of the weekend, before anything else happens, players will swear allegiance to the Emperor of Mankind or to Horus –regardless of the codex being used. (Yes this means that your Khorne army can fight for the Imperium!) The justification: it is the eve of the launching of a civil war, standing at the edge of the precipice, there could be some with second thoughts –or some last-minute treachery, some final conniving …or even just the aim of consolidating power.
  • Just like the wristband idea with lining up for concert tickets, players will be given a number; when their number is called, they can then swear their (temporary?) allegiance to the faction of their choice….if there’s still room for them.
  • At some point (multiple points?) players will be given the opportunity to switch sides…and will be rewarded / bribed for doing so.
  • Players will not be allowed to have special characters in their armies, but special characters will be available at different times as a free upgrade to players’ armies.

As I said above, it’s not our aim to make this campaign tournament as competitively balanced as possible; playing war is not running a 100-yard dash; and 40k (in my opinion) was never intended to clinically determine, in a controlled environment, just who was the 40k-No-Kamisama (Jp:  “the god of 40k”). Having a story unfold over the course of a weekend and seeing how players adjust to the unexpected excites me more than does just hosting a contest to see who plays the better-built army list the best. I really do enjoy bringing narrative and strategy together to influence, push, pull and link the tactical battles being played (I’m a sucker for campaigns!). And for that reason, we’ll be upping the ante and adding extra variables so as to test the mettle of the players.

One of the hallmarks of the 14th Black Crusade was that during each round several different missions were being played (so the table beside you wasn’t necessarily playing the same mission you were playing); we want to have a semblance of that in this tournament too: I think it’s pretty cool to have your army’s location influence what their mission and objectives will be.

We also want to try to include secondary objectives to be used not as battle-points bonuses but as activators to special effects, occurrences (and special guests!)  for use in future rounds. We had a lot of success with this idea with the Eye of Terror weekend and want to refine it and include it in some form for our Isstvan V event as well. What I especially liked about the way secondary objectives were handled in the Eye of Terror was that they didn’t help you in your current game; they would instead give you some kind of bonus or benefit to your next battle, regardless of your performance in your current battle.

The idea behind secondary objectives doing this being two things: that astute players, suffering from their current game developing into a very pear-shaped prospect, could try their best to go for the secondary objectives and strive to win the war despite a setback in their current situation. Secondly, a game structure that rewards those who plan strategically appeals to the war gamer in me. (As an example: many historians have commented that perhaps had Rommel used his available air power to protect  his supply ships steaming across the Mediterranean instead of on his Afrikakorps divisions, his army would never have suffered from all the fuel & supply problems that were endemic to the desert war. They use that example to illustrate that despite Rommel’s tactical brilliance on the battlefield, he was a limited strategist, and that limitation cost him the desert campaign. That’s the blending of strategy and tactics element that we hope to instill in our event over the course of the weekend.)

That’s all I’ve got on my brain so far, but I will post updates on the tournament as we continue crafting the structure of the campaign weekend.

Lastly, my partners in crime, Nathan and Teri will also have updates and announcements on their blog:

When we’re closer to the date, they’ll also have all the information on how to register and pay for the event (they’ve made it so you can pay using PayPal–handy!)

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7 Responses to FEBRUARY 2011 TOURNAMENT

  1. Twalks says:

    Hey I’m pretty pumped to participate in this. If you dont mind some constructive critcism I’l give my opinion on a few things that could be done a tad bit better in my opinion.
    First off on the missions, try making it so that the primary and secondary are hard to get both of, that way you actually have to make a decision on getting one or the others, or have to choose between which of the secondaries, on several of the missions I played in it seemed fairly simple to go for the win and secure almost all of the secondary objectives… Another point is some of the pre event cards seemed really really strong, almost too strong. The card which forces your opponent to deploy first and go 2nd with no chance of seizing is massively powerful

    • Twalks says:

      Wow so accidental posting there….
      Anyways as I was saying that card seems to powerful in my opinion, just being gauranteed your choice of first or 2nd with no chance of seizing initiative would have been better.

      I probably have some more stuff, just can’t think of it now…. but I’m definitely excited about this.

      If you need any help with the tourny or anything don’t hesitate to ask I’m more then happy to help.

      • imaginarywars says:

        Thanks for the input!
        Honestly, we knew the 14th Black Crusade wasn’t perfect; but we also felt enough of the right elements were successfully pulled off (again, some more than others) that we dubbed the weekend a success.
        Part of the fault behind the lead up cards (which was all my doing, bu the way) was that we had no idea what turnout was going to be like; and given the format’s radical departure from “normal” tournaments, we wanted to seriously sweeten the deal to help encourage people to attend.
        The intention of the secondary objectives was always that going for those would hamper your ability to achieve the mission’s primary goals; however, what we found once we started writing missions and secondary objectives was that it is notoriously difficult to come up with secondary objectives that will pull you away from the primary mission–especially for the person who is winning the game. (This is something we have to put more work into, and we knew this right from the end of the 14th Black Crusade.)

        As for help: feedback does LOTS to help us–both what you liked and what you didn’t like. For homework, you could try writing up some secondary objectives (even just for the standard missions in the rulebook) that would be difficult to achieve if you were attempting to fulfill the mission’s primary objectives, and alternately, fairly achievable if you were losing the game and trying to somehow salvage that loss while it was happening to you. (One problem we found with 40k tournament players…probably WFB players as well… is that given the chance to perform less well, but get guaranteed battle points or to go for double-or-nothing battle points, most players will double down every time. Unlike in real war, in pretend war it seems there is NO advantage to being playing it safe.

        Also in the vein of tourney help: we want to have the next tournament run 3 games on the Sunday. However, the hall needs to be cleaned and emptied by a very specific time on Sundays (5 or 6pm I think), so we figure the only we could go 3 games on Sunday is if we had a tournament clean up team. But THAT is something Nathan, Teri and I are still talking about.

  2. Lothaire says:

    Sweet… I’m in!

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